[Photograph: Erin Kunkel]

Son-in-law eggs have a mysterious name. Some believe the golden eggs symbolize wealth, while others believe them to be a stand-in for a similarly sized male body part. Whatever the real story, the dish itself is a great reason to heat up a pot of frying oil. Leela Punyaratabandhu's recipe in her new cookbook, Simple Thai Food, is fabulously sweet, sour, and sticky, with golden-crisp eggs enveloped in a memorably intense sauce. Yes, boiling and deep frying eggs is kind of a pain, but the textural contrast between the crisp edges and custardy yolks is a fine reward.

Why I picked this recipe: There are very few egg-based dishes that I will willingly pass up.

What worked: This recipe is a great way to use hardboiled eggs that you didn't peel perfectly—the frying process will hide any errant pock-marks.

What didn't: Nothing.

Suggested tweaks: If you don't want to hard-boil and deep fry the eggs, Punyaratabandhu suggests serving the sauce and toppings on sunny-side-up fried eggs. If you want to make the dish vegetarian, you can omit the fish sauce and add salt to taste. If you can't find tamarind where you live, you can order it online or substitute a bit of fruity vinegar or lime juice for sourness.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Simple Thai Food to give away this week.


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